Yahoo’s efforts to improve the local content it shows users by hiring editors in major cities nationwide are coming together — albeit slowly. In August, we reported that the company had openings for local editors who were tasked with writing “engaging and exceptional news stories and blog posts from primary or secondary sources on deadline” and sourcing and managing “content from partners.” We understand there are nine editors now doing so in San Francisco, New York City, Detroit, Cleveland, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington D.C. and their contributions are regularly showing up on the main ‘Today’ module on the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) home page to users in those respective markets.
The number of editors pales when compared to the scale of AOL’s own, much more aggressive local effort. As of last month, AOL (NYSE: AOL) had more than 800 local editors working across the country at its network of Patch hyperlocal sites. That initiative though cost AOL more than $50 million last year alone and it is far from clear whether it has been a success.
Yahoo is supplementing its staff of local editors — who are each responsible for major cities — by aggregating local news, deals, and events in specific neighborhoods and cities on Yahoo Local, which it overhauled late last year. There are now pages on Yahoo Local corresponding to about 400 locations in California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York. Yahoo’s local editors in those states contribute content to the pages, including articles and links to “news we’re watching,” a big improvement over the first version of the pages that showed up in December, which seemed to be in need of a human touch.